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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

352                  JOURNEYS IN KURDISTAN     LETTER xxxn

Bitlis is one of the roughest and most fanatical and
turbulent of Turkish cities, but the present Governor,
Eaouf Pasha, is a man of energy, and has reduced the
town and neighbourhood to some degree of order.
Considerable bodies of troops have been brought in, and
the garrison consists of 2500 men. These soldiers are
thoroughly well clothed and equipped, and look remark-
ably clean in dress and person. They are cheery,
soldierly-looking men, and their presence gives a little
confidence to the Christians.

The population of Bitlis is estimated at 30,000, of
which number over 20,000 are Kurds. Both men and
women are very handsome, and the striking Kurdish
costume gives a great brilliancy and picturesqueness to
this remarkable city. The short sleeveless jackets of
sheepskin with the black wool outside which the men are
now wearing over their striped satin vests, and the silver
rings in the noses of the girls give them something of a
" barbarian " look, and indeed their habits appear to be
much the same as those of their Karduchi ancestors in the
days of Xenophon, except that in the interval they have
become Moslems and teetotallers ! Here they are Sunnis,
and consequently do not clash with their neighbours the
Turks, who abhor the Kurds of the mountains as Kizil-
bashes. The Kurdish physique is very fine. In fact I
have never seen so handsome a people, and their manly
and highly picturesque costume heightens the favour-
able effect produced by their well-made, lithe, active
figures.

The cast of their features is delicate and somewhat
sharp; the mouth is small and well formed; the teeth are
always fine and white; the face is oval; the eyebrows
curved and heavy; the eyelashes long; the eyes deep set,
intelligent, and roving; the nose either straight or de-
cidedly aquiline, giving a hawk-like expression; the chin